I’ve tried pairing my leopard geckos twice (a week apart), the male is 43 grams and about 1.5 years old. I put the male in the females enclosure and the male showed no interest either time. I left him in for about an hour and a half and all that happened was the female went in her hide (after walking on top of the male ) and the male walked around and stared at his reflection. I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong or if the male just isn’t interested in breeding. Are there any tips or tricks to get them to breed or should I just buy a new male for this year?
Is your female ovulating?
I don’t think so yet, I’m planning on pairing every week or so until the first eggs are laid. Does that affect the male’s interest?
yes. If the female isn’t ovulating , they won’t be interested in breeding. About 95% of the time I will check if my planned pairing is ovulating But I been guilty of being in a hurry and just pairing them without checking.
It’s not uncommon for a female gecko that isn’t receptive to have an attitude with regards to the male- most of my females will wave their tail in the air- a bit like a plotting cat- and sometimes smack the male with it or even bite him when they aren’t receptive. What stumps me is that your male didn’t even ‘rattle’ his tail.
All of my adult males will ‘rattle’ their tail (vibrate it very rapidly, creating a buzzing noise- it’s a tighter and much louder movement than the female) when exposed to a female during the breeding season, whether she’s receptive or not. So it’s weird that your male didn’t display upon catching the smell of the female.
Aside from checking for ovulation (I am terrible at that), here are some ideas:
- Introduce both geckos in an otherwise empty container (or in the male’s enclosure). Be careful to monitor them, and look for the signs that the female is either irritated or receptive (raising her tail and standing still).
- When you introduce them, have a small piece of substrate or a rock or something from another male leopard gecko’s enclosure, if you have one. Alternatively, you could try introducing a small bit of substrate from the female’s cage into your breeding male’s cage a short while before you pair them, to try and get him into ‘the zone.’
- This is unlikely to be the culprit but possible- I have had it happen before that a male had trouble extruding his hemi-penes. I put him in a quite humid (but not sopping wet and definitely adequately heated) enclosure for a few hours and tried again. That wasn’t successful, but after staying in overnight (again- properly heated, I used a tub in a rack of mine), he was able to do his business.
- I have had one male that was too afraid to mate. It was hilarious, since he was always so aggro with me.
The thing is the male just totally isn’t interested, if I didn’t know better I would’ve thought they’re both females (I did check again and he is a male), the only interest the male has in the female is just sniffing her, no tail wagging or anything. I watched them for the whole hour and a half and the female took a nap and walked around and the male just walked around. I’ll try putting them in another enclosure in a week and try again. I’m not sure if it would make a difference but should I try pairing him with my other female?
I guess the best course of action depends on how high-end your male and female are. The more valuable he is, the more different things you can try to get the ball rolling.
It’s not uncommon for animals of a given sex to act more like a different sex in various situations. I think the one people know the most about would be freemartins in cattle. Intersex animals are also not uncommon.
So it’s possible that maybe your male’s (or female’s) hormones are different for a developmental reason. Pairing him with your other female (so long as you’re sure that she’s mature & receptive) would give you more information with regards to which animal is the issue. If he doesn’t vibrate his tail with a second female, then you’ll know that at least part of the issue is with the male.
Trying again in a different enclosure is good. Also trying the male with a different female is a good idea as well. There has been a few cases of one of the other just isn’t fertile. Its rare but does happen. I only heard of it a handful of times in 15 years. I have sometimes kept them together over night. I would sit in the dark in a chair on my laptop or phone and just listen to the tail rattling. If you hear them fighting a lot I wouldn’t let them be together over night.
I notice our Leo’s prefer to not breed during the daytime or when we are watching. In nature that would be a vulnerable time for them and usually at night.
I put them in a separate enclosure in the dark at night for a few hours and again, nothing. The male just walked around again and barely even noticed the female aside from sniffing the female and then walking elsewhere in the enclosure. I left them alone for a while so I’m not positive if there was any interest but when I came back a couple hours later there wasn’t any interest so I’m assuming that the male doesn’t have any interest. This weekend I’m going to try pairing him with my other female and hopefully he shows some interest this time.
I see in your original post that the male is 1.5 years old. Are you sure of the age? I only ask because my Leo males that are that age are closer to 70 grams and one is just shy of 90 grams. Yours may not be a mature male is why I am asking.
I got him just over a year ago and he was 6 months when I got him, he is lighter but he doesn’t really develop fat. He has distinctive pores at his tail base. Even if when I got him he was just born (which he wasn’t) he should still be old enough. I’m going to try pairing him with my other female soon and see where the problem lies.
Can we get some pictures of him? He doesn’t sound like he would be old/big enough to breed to me. Mature males are usually bigger than that.
FWIW, 20 years ago 45-55 grams was average adult weight for leopard geckos. 60+ gram geckos were considered big.
Any chance you can get good, clear photos of the preanal pores of both geckos? A side profile shot of each will help too, specifically showing the pelvic region, from hind leg to about 1/2in of tail.
Here’s some pictures, a few days ago I tried pairing him with my other female and the same thing happened. Now that I think about it is likely that he’s not big enough yet.
I think it’s worth a try to give him some more time to grow/mature. Maybe intermittently check in & see if he’s developed any mating instinct. Also, as a veterinarian, I feel it’s my duty to point out that he looks to have a case of adorable-ness. Based on the cuteness of his smile, it may be incurable.
Edit: I agree that he looks male, though his hemi-penal bulges seem a bit small, which could maybe support the hypothesis of immaturity.